September 15, 2020

Technology With Style: New Developments in Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring may be a traditional choice, but recent innovations have broadened the range of options beyond classic two-inch light-wood planks. From new species of wood to new materials, colors, textures, finishes and plank sizes, you can select from a wide range of products to suit your décor and budget.


The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) classifies wood flooring into solid, engineered and composite-engineered options. Solid wood is just that: planks cut from a tree. Engineered flooring contains multiple layers of plywood and a thinner top layer of wood, making it less likely than solid wood to expand and contract with temperature and humidity. Some engineered flooring uses tongue-and-groove systems for quick, simple snap-together installation.

Composite-engineered flooring contains wood only on the top surface, with virtually any type of composite material as the backing and core. The thin wood veneer on composite-engineered products may not qualify it as "real wood" for some consumers, but it can offer durability, water resistance and a good feel underfoot. If the top wearable layer is too thin, you'll be unable to sand and refinish the floor more than once, if at all, unlike traditional hardwoods, which you can sand and refinish four to seven times, depending on plank thickness. Additionally, low humidity can cause the top layer of composite-engineered flooring to crack.

Unfinished or prefinished

Traditional wood flooring arrives as unfinished planks, with stains and sealants applied after installation and sanding. The upside of this process is the unified, solid look of the finished floor; the downside, the three or four days of drying time before you can walk on it. Prefinished flooring arrives from the factory fully sanded, stained and sealed, cutting installation time to as little as a single day.

Some prefinished hardwoods include subtly rounded, or beveled, edges that help mask any unevenness in the planks themselves or the installed floor. Because beveling leaves a minuscule gap between planks, however, it may be more likely to attract and retain dust, which may increase the amount of cleaning it requires.
In addition to natural and engineered woods, new environmentally friendly options include bamboo, cork and a composite material called Marmoleum, made from a combination of wood flour, limestone, jute and pigment.


Today's hardwood flooring surfaces range from the high gloss of a piano finish to the familiar shine of regular sealants and even the low luster of a nearly matte look. In addition to the traditional smoothly sanded, knot-free appearance of solid hardwood, today's choices include a diverse palette of textures that can give your floor a distinctive look. Wire-brushed wood looks weathered but not rustic or unfinished, and hides dirt to make floors easier to keep clean. Hand-scrubbed and hand-scraped finishes add a vintage look that makes each floor truly one of a kind.

Modern surface treatments can add visual interest, but for an even more striking interior, you also can select reclaimed wood, often from old gymnasiums or commercial buildings, and reproductions that give the look of age. Reactive stains quickly oxidize the tannins in wood to make new wood look like old hardwoods, typically using environmentally friendly salts such as iron chloride, also used to purify drinking water.

Traditional hardwood flooring uses knot-free lumber, but new options transform yesterday's flaws into today's design statement. Knots add what's called "character" to hardwood flooring, ranging from knot-free clear boards to light character, all the way up to the knotty appearance of character grade.

Along with creating a customized look with surface treatments and textures, you can choose plank widths that range from traditionally narrow all the way up to 4" or wider. Wider – and longer – planks make a dramatic statement in today's open-plan interiors. Specialized installations can transform your floors with herringbone and chevron patterns or diagonally laid planks.

Today's hardwoods broaden your design palette with materials, colors, textures, finishes and plank sizes to suit any style, room size and décor. For assistance in selecting the right choices to create the look you want, ask the design experts at Kermans Flooring to help you narrow down your options. Schedule a complimentary consultation or come in to see our lineup of hardwoods.

August 20, 2020

Showcase Your Décor With Blonde and Gray Hardwoods


Flooring trends come and go, but timeless options come back into style or never go out of favor. That's the case with light-colored hardwoods, which continue to win over homeowners with their ability to make any room look bigger, brighter and more inviting, even in smaller areas or those with lower ceilings. Along with the open feel they add to a room, these lighter-colored woods create a neutral undertone that can handle décor styles from rustic to sleekly contemporary, paint colors from deep to pastel, all with the easy-care ability to cut down on cleaning time. But you'll need to choose your hardwoods with care, as these options can last 50 years or more.

 If your reference point for light-colored flooring harkens back to medium-stained oak – the wood of choice for decades – or the yellowish tones of aging clearcoats, you'll find ample pleasant surprises among today's hardwood choices, although many of them represent new takes on classic styles. Some of these hardwoods redefine light-colored flooring to make a strong statement in a contemporary or transitional interior.
Blonde hardwoods can match your tastes, regardless of whether you prefer warm or cool tones. Warmer colors may strike a more-casual, homey tone and cooler colors may invoke modern looks, but you can express your vision in unique ways. Whether you choose European oak or the new-style environmental friendliness of bamboo, you'll find durable, appealing selections in a full spectrum of golden shades. Among light-colored flooring options, blonde hardwoods hide scuff marks, unlike trendy whitewash looks, and don't require as much vigilance to keep clean.
Gray flooring reached popularity in the last decade and has held on to its desirable status, providing an enduring choice for cooler good looks. From the bright gleam of light gray to the dignity of darker colors, you can leverage these tones to contrast with dark furniture or set off bright contemporary artwork. The neutrality of these cool shades can showcase dramatic colors or provide a base for an all-gray look. If you're torn between blonde and gray, consider gray-washed blonde hardwoods, or mix the two colors in a herringbone pattern.
In addition to flooring color trends that favor blonde and gray, the midpoint between the two combines gray with beige to produce greige, livening up the minimalist look to harmonize with any colors or interior style. Greige offers an ideal option for those who find gray too reminiscent of cement and want to add a more natural look to their floors. Like blonde hardwoods, greige runs the gamut from cooler to warmer tones.
Some interior designers prefer hardwoods that look more like the natural shades of raw wood. To achieve these looks, start with woods that come close to the final shade you want to achieve, and visualize finish as a stylish accent rather than just the combination of stain and sealant. From "piano" finishes with the high-gloss gleam of a classic baby grand to hand-scraped textures that add the look of artisanal flooring, you can find a wide variety of surfaces, including flat and matte. If the worn-in beauty of scraped textures appeals to you, remember that unlike hand processing, automated scraping produces recognizable, repeated patterning that may not convey the authentic look you want to achieve.
Hardwoods add lasting beauty that can anchor your interiors with the gleam of natural materials, and with a wide choice of plank widths from narrow to broad, you can achieve your unique style. To realize your vision, ask the design experts at Kermans Flooring to help you decide which options match your tastes. Schedule a complimentary consultation or stop by to see our lineup of hardwoods.

July 23, 2020

How to Create Healthful Interiors With Certified Flooring

You want beautiful floors that express your style and complement your décor. If you have children, suffer from chemical sensitivities or allergies, or simply want to use the most environmentally friendly options on the market, you can take flooring to a new level with certified products that help create a home that's as healthful as it is beautiful. Look for tested options that meet rigorous criteria for their quality control, materials and indoor air-quality (IAQ) performance.

Like everything in your home, including paint, furniture and fabrics, flooring products can off-gas, or emit, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemicals that can have an adverse effect on your health. VOCs produce the smells you associate with a new car, fresh paint or new carpet, but because we spend 90% of our time indoors, VOCs can have a greater impact on long-term health than many people realize.

VOC concentrations run up to 10 times higher indoors than outside. Depending on your sensitivities to these compounds, VOC exposure can produce symptoms ranging from irritation in your eyes, nose and throat to headaches, fatigue, dizziness and more. To curtail your exposure to VOCs and limit their impact on your health, two special certifications show that specific flooring products meet EPA standards for VOC out-gassing and can help you create good indoor air quality.

The FloorScore® IAQ certification standard covers hard-surface flooring materials, adhesives and underlayments. The Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI), a major industry trade association, developed this standard in conjunction with SCS Global Services, a leader in third-party certification of environmental sustainability.

The California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) Standard Method for Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions Testing and Evaluation provides FloorScore's criteria for testing a product's chemical emissions. FloorScore reevaluates certified products annually to verify that they continue to meet its standards.

The FloorScore label shows that a product qualifies for the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership for Engineering and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, the gold standard in green-building ratings; the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), a national standard for new and renovated school construction; the WELL Building Standard, an international performance-based evaluation of the built environment; the Green Guide for Healthcare, a set of global sustainability standards for care-facility construction; and other standards for healthful buildings.

Like FloorScore, GREENGUARD certifies a wide range of products, including flooring materials, based on the standards of the EPA, CDPH and other environmental agencies. Air Quality Sciences, Inc. founded the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute in 2001 to create a product certifier that could support indoor air quality. Today, GREENGUARD forms part of the Environment division of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), one of several companies authorized to perform safety testing for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among other entities, has adopted GREENGUARD emissions limits as purchasing specifications.

GREENGUARD's two certifications represent dual emission standards that validate manufacturer claims with unbiased science. The GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification represents the standard level of VOC testing for interior products. The GREENGUARD Gold Certification includes more-stringent guidelines that regulate products designed for areas in which children live, learn and play. The UL SPOT database lists all certified products, which are subject to manufacturing-process review and testing.

Look for the FloorScore label or GREENGUARD Certification mark as your guarantee of the indoor emissions performance of flooring materials, and rest assured that they help protect your good health while they beautify your home. Ask the design experts at Kermans Flooring to help you evaluate your needs and choose the right certified options to meet them. Schedule a complimentary consultation or stop by to see our environmentally accredited products.
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